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Safety Planning

Safety can be an ongoing concern for many people affected by violence. Each survivor’s situation is unique, so every safety plan is different. While many causes of violence are beyond a survivor’s immediate control, we can help identify resources and options.

Safety Planning

Immediate Safety Plan
If you or someone you know needs assistance, we can help plan next steps and assess options. Call our hotline 24/7 at (617) 661-7203.

What Can I Do During an Explosive Incident?
I can…

  • Call 911, and a friend or a neighbor, if possible. Inform them if there are weapons in the home.
  • Tell my children, grandchildren or neighbors so I can communicate to them that you need the police.
  • Trust my own judgment.

What Can I Do When Preparing To Leave?
Leaving can be the most dangerous time. I can…

  • Have a safe place to stay.
  • Call a domestic violence victim service program.
  • Find out which services and shelters are available as options if I need them.
  • Find someone I trust.
  • Leave money, extra keys, copies of important documents and clothing with someone I trust in advance.

What Can I Take With Me?
I can bring…(if these are unsafe for you to bring/take as your abuser will see that they are missing – make copies if possible)

  • My IDs: Driver’s license, Social Security card, work permit, green card, passport, or visa
  • My birth certificate
  • Documents for my children (birth certificates, immunization records, passports etc.)
  • Money, checkbooks, credit cards, ATM cards, mortgage payment book, car title
  • My documents: Divorce, custody papers and restraining order
  • My keys: house, car, office, friend’s
  • My medications, glasses, hearing aids, etc. and my children’s medications
  • Essential clothing and toys

We recommend to be very careful in putting items aside so your plan to leave is not jeopardized. Opening a post office box (for documents) or giving some items to a friend/neighbor may be a good preparation plan.

What Can I Do to Improve Safety in My Home?
I can…

  • Consider a security service, window bars, better lighting, smoke detectors and fire extinguishers.
  • Develop a safety plan.
  • Have a code word or signal with my children or signal with friends/family that will know if I am unsafe
  • Change my phone number.
  • Screen my calls.
  • Talk to neighbors and landlord about my situation.
  • Find a lawyer I trust who can help me with divorce, custody, or restraining orders.
  • Contact my local domestic violence victim services program. Our hotline is available 24/7 at 617-661-7203.


Long Term Safety
Whether you are hiding from your abuser or communicating with them on a regular basis, take steps to protect yourself and your family. If you are planning to leave your abuser or hide from them, develop an immediate safety plan. If you have left your abuser, use the tools below to begin working on a long-term plan to maintain your family’s safety. Call our hotline 24/7 at 617-661-7203 for individual help.

Where Can I Get Emotional Support?
I can…

  • A domestic violence crisis help-line. I can call Transition House 24/7 at 617-611-7203.
  • Attend a women’s or victims support group to gain support from others and learn more about myself and the relationship with the abuser.
  • Do what is safe for myself. If I have to communicate with the abuser, I can arrange to do so in the way that makes me feel safe.

How Can I Improve My Safety at Work?
I can…

  • Tell somebody. I can decide whom at work you will inform of your situation, especially if I have a restraining order. This may include office security if available. I can request and expect confidentiality from those I talk to.
  • Screen my calls. I can also arrange to have someone screen and log your telephone calls.
  • Make a safety plan entering and leaving my work place.
  • Contact my local domestic violence victim services program to receive additional information about workplace safety. I can reach Transition House 24/7 at 617-661-7203.

How Can I Improve My Children’s Safety?
I can…

  • Tell schools and childcare. I can discuss with them special provisions to protect myself and my child/ren.
  • Exchange child/ren in a safe place. Some communities have specific locations just for this purpose.
  • Contact my local domestic violence victim services program for more information. I can reach Transition House 24/7 at 617-661-7203.

You and your children deserve to be safe!

Protect Your Online Privacy
If you think you may be in abusive relationship, be careful using the internet to get information. A computer you share with your partner is probably not safe. You can follow these guidelines to stay safe online, using email and over the phone.

Computer Privacy

  • If you are in danger, please try to use a safe computer that someone abusive does not have direct or remote access to.
  • If you think your activities are being monitored, they probably are. Abusive people are often controlling and want to know your every move. You don’t need to be a computer programmer or have special skills to monitor someone’s computer and Internet activities – anyone can do it and there are many ways to monitor with programs like Spyware, keystroke loggers and hacking tools.
  • It is not possible to delete or clear all the “footprints” of your computer or online activities. If you are being monitored, it may be dangerous to change your computer behaviors such as suddenly deleting your entire Internet history if that is not your regular habit.
  • If you think you may be monitored on your home computer, be careful how you use your computer since an abuser might become suspicious. You may want to keep using the monitored computer for innocuous activities, like looking up the weather. Use a safer computer to research an escape plan, look for new jobs or apartments, bus tickets, or ask for help.
  • Email, online messaging and text messaging are not safe or confidential ways to talk to someone about the danger or abuse in your life. If possible, please call a hotline instead. If you use email or IM, please use a safer computer and an account your abuser does not know about.
  • Computers can store a lot of private information about what you look at via the Internet, the emails and instant messages you send, internet-based phone and IP-TTY calls you make, web-based purchases and banking, and many other activities.
  • It might be safer to use a computer at a public library, a community technology center (CTC), a trusted friend’s house, or an Internet Café.

Source: National Network to End Domestic Violence

Email Privacy
Your abuser could have access to your email account if:

  • You share an email account. Whenever you share the same email account your partner will be able to read any of the emails in the account. You use Outlook, Outlook Express, Eudora, or a similar program to check your email. These programs allow anybody who has access to your computer to read your email.
  • You check your email on the Internet. Your abuser may have access to your email account if they know your email address and password. Also, some people have their computers set up to save their email address and password for them. If your computer has your email address and password saved, anyone with access to your computer can read your email.
  • You share your password with them.
  • You say “yes” when your browser asks you if you’d like to save your password. Although it’s convenient, it’s not a good idea—especially when the computer you are using is shared.
  • You write your password down. If you absolutely must write down a new password the first time or two you use it, be sure you keep it in a very safe, hidden place—not a sticky note stuck to your computer or your desk! Once you’ve memorized it, shred it—don’t just toss it in the trash.

Source: National Network to End Domestic Violence

Cell Phone Privacy
If you use a cell phone, be aware there are numerous ways an abuser can use cell phone technology to overhear your calls or locate you.

  • Use a cell phone only if you do not have access to a regular phone, and make sure that you do not give any identifying details on a cell phone.
  • If your abuser works for a phone company or law enforcement agency, use extreme caution, and discuss cell phone safety with a domestic violence advocate.
  • A cellular phone in “silent mode” or “auto answer” can serve as a tracking device. Some recent models of cell phones have GPS (Global Positioning System), which is a location-finding feature. You can check with your phone company to learn if your cell phone has this feature.
  • If you are fleeing from your abuser, either turn off your cell phone or leave it behind.
  • Wireless carriers are required to complete 9-1-1 calls, even when a phone is not activated. Any phone that turns on and receives a signal is capable of making 9-1-1 calls. It is important to know that if the phone you’re using isn’t activated, i.e., there isn’t a phone number assigned to it, and you’re disconnected from the 9-1-1 dispatch center, you must call 9-1-1 back.

Source: National Network to End Domestic Violence

Photographs: Maria Verrier www.mariaverrier.com & Lucas Mulder www.lucasmulderphoto.com Cover image: Cristy C. Road, 2004, www.croadcore.org
Website Design by: Lucas Mulder & Kunjal Shah

United Way
Transition House receives support from the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley.

Blue Cross Blue Shield
This website was developed with a grant from The Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation.